Paintings inspired by celebrities, movie characters and superheros adorn the walls in Chris Wilkinson’s home in Casino. But these aren’t collector items. Instead, the artworks are painted by Chris himself who is an avid painter and science fiction enthusiast.
Chris’ creative talents have also been exhibited in several local art galleries in the past, including the Lismore and Kyogle Art Galleries. “Chris has had his very own section in a couple of the local art galleries and has sold a number of works over the years,” says Achieve Australia Support Worker, Shawn Gill, who helps Chris maintain his independence at home and pursue his passion for painting.
Living in a group home in Casino, Chris receives daily living supports to help with household chores, shopping and cooking as well as support to help maintain an active lifestyle. Chris says he likes to see the local community enjoying and appreciating his much-loved paintings.
“It’s wonderful when everybody likes my work,” says Chris. “It helps me feel more confident and makes me feel proud.”
Chris’ interest in painting began more than 10 years ago through the local art program SeaSpace. At SeaSpace, Chris works closely with his art teacher and mentor to refine his skills and develop new artworks. Working with acrylic paints on canvas, Chris sketches out his painting and uses small squares to bring the finished pieces together.
“I paint the pictures from my memory,” explains Chris. “I’ve painted Indiana Jones, Superman, Dr Who and I’m working on The Flash now.”
When searching for new inspiration for a painting, Chris looks to his favourite characters, movies and television shows. Once he has completed a piece, he writes a letter to the featured celebrities and includes an image of the finished portrait. In appreciation of his artwork, Chris often receives reply letters, memorabilia and images back from celebrities and movie makers.
“Chris was really excited to receive a Dr Who shirt and handwritten letter recently from the director of the show,” says Shawn. “It’s really great to see this recognition of his hard work, time and efforts. Chris even has signed pictures from Harrison Ford and Sean Connery.”
Every year, Chris enters into the Bentley Art Prize community event where more than 700 artworks are accepted from towns as far away as Bathurst and Toowoomba. Since he began painting, Chris has won several prizes for his paintings at the event and regularly sells his works to the community.
Among other interests, Chris also enjoys collecting posters from movie magazines and going to Surfability for adapted and inclusive surfing sessions.
For his next project, Chris is inspired to paint women’s tennis champion and current World No. 1, Ash Barty. We look forward to seeing Chris continue to find new inspiration to express his creative talents and fulfil his passion for painting.